Recap: Broadchurch, “Episode 1” (2×01)
The first season of Broadchurch affected me very deeply. It was the first show about a dead child I’d watched since having a child of my own, and I was emotionally ill-equipped to handle it. Watching the Latimer family grieve was devastating for me. That profound emotional connection to the material coupled with my undying loyalty to David Tennant** ensured that I was going to be on board for Season Two. And it looks like it is going to be a heck of a ride.
Season Two of Broadchurch opens with flashes of a girl and a woman. No context. The measured and careful distribution of information is one of the most beautiful parts of watching Broadchurch. You always feel the current of untold information running underneath the images on the screen. There is always a sense that there is more to any situation than your allowed to see, motives of all kinds are hidden even more than the British normally like to contain their emotions.
Ollie and Maggie have dragged DI Alec Hardy onto the beach where Danny’s body was found, interviewing him ahead of the first plea hearing in the case. Alec’s medical problems remain a concern, he’s not on active duty. Alec is dodging both the reporters’ questions and calls and texts from some woman named Claire.
No one in Broadchurch has seen Ellie and she doesn’t currently have custody of her elder son Tom (Danny’s best friend). Ellie’s left town and is barely keeping it together as a hard ass traffic cop. Also among the things the town of Broadchurch does not know, Rev. Coates has been visiting Joe (Ellie’s ex-husband, the accused murderer) in jail.
The Latimer family is trying to claw back from the edge. Beth is ready to pop and Nige (not Mark) is helping to put in the water birthing tub. Mark continues to be vague and annoying about his general physical location at any given time.
While all of the characters keep insisting this will be a routine hearing, the music (and the fact that there is an entire new season of television to come) says otherwise. And just like that, Joe pleads not guilty, surprising everyone in the courtroom, including his barrister.
Time out: I do not know the correct terms for the British Justice System. I have some vague ideas – love the wigs, barristers, not lawyers, prosecutors are selected like defense… ummm… So please forgive any incorrect terms. Because, well, American. Time In.
Alec tracks Ellie down to the ladies room, where she’s hiding. Their relationship last season was one of growing respect and understanding and, whether they’d admit it or not in the end, friendship. That ease with each other – with none of the niceties of actual friendship – is so much fun to watch. “Want a hug?” “No – what’s the matter with you?”
Joe Miller needs council, not because he says he’s innocent necessarily. As he puts it, “I can’t go to prison for Danny’s death… Nobody’s innocent. Everyone’s hiding things.” And apparently there are a sufficient amount of discrepancies in the prosecution’s case to make it win-able.
While Joe scrambles to find a lawyer, Ellie in therapy – talking about the rage and blood lust she feels for her (ex?)husband. Her therapist asks her how she feels about the possibility of a trial. Guilty. It’s such a powerful juxtaposition – Ellie claiming responsibility for a situation she had no hand in creating while her (ex?)husband pleads not guilty.
But Ellie isn’t the only one with a problem. Claire (Eve Myles from Torchwood) is terrified of someone, chasing Alec around. Alec, in turn, is chasing down Ellie to ask for help. She isn’t necessarily magnanimous when she agrees.
It turns out, Claire is a witness for the Sandberg case – Alec’s last case before coming to Broadchurch. Alec set up a pseudo witness protection program after Claire reneged her alibi for the accused – her husband.
Alec needs Ellie’s help. His plan somehow involves Lee Ashworth coming looking for his ex-wife and Ellie staying at her hideout. She’ll help, but not exactly willingly. Her help also apparently includes carting Alec around, since his medical condition prevents him from driving.
The defense team is playing for keeps; they’re exhuming Danny’s body. No one takes this well, and Beth lashes out at Ellie when she sees her there. While Ellie and Alec survey the exhumation, Alec spots Lee Ashworth – Claire’s husband and accused (and exonerated) murder – standing at the top of the hill, staring at them, gloating. Ellie asks why Alec is so sure he killed those girls and the only answer we get is the information that they lived next to each other.
Odds & Ends
– Is Mark still a cheating fucker? Nope – he is playing video games with Tom in an abandoned mobile home by the beach. Any better? Nope.
– Did DI Hardy tape your interview when he arrested you? Did he know you outside of the investigation? hmmmmmmm….
– What do we think is up with the bluebell?
British Actor Fandom Tracker
Doctor Who – Tennant and Arthur Darvill (Olivia Coleman and Eve Myles guested as well)
Torchwood – Eve Myles
Agent Carter – James D’Arcy
Harry Potter – Tennant, Carol Pickles (Maggie)
**My undying loyalty towards David Tennant did not extend to watching Gracepoint. After hearing more than enough negative opinion – and having myself a viscerally negative reaction to Tennant’s American accent in the previews – I skipped the American version of Broadchurch all together.